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KEEPING YOU IN TOUCH - YOUR FREE MONTHLY NEWSPAPER DELIVERED DOOR-TO-DOOR FOR 30 YEARS


C3 Aircross Interior PHOTO © CITROËN PRESS


MOTORING NEWS


Compact SUVs and Crossovers are the current favourite with motorists looking for cars that offer space and practicality. Drivers and passengers also like the rugged look and raised seating these vehicles employ.


negotiating the remote and highly demanding regions of Scotland’s Southern Uplands was intended to rigorously put the C3 Aircross through its paces. And to get a true idea of the car’s potential it is the standard model without Grip Control that’s on trial, in this instance the 1560cc four-cylinder turbocharged and intercooled diesel rather than the three-cylinder 1.2 litre petrol version which is set to be the bigger seller. Diesel might be contentious but it has a strong market for anyone amassing more than 15,000-20,000 miles annually.


C3 Aircross PHOTO © M.BOBBITT


New to this market is Citroën’s C3 Aircross which is essentially an on-stilts version of the popular new-generation C3 Hatch which was introduced earlier this year. Citroën refers to the Aircross as an SUV, and while it exudes all such qualities it doesn’t have all-wheel drive. Instead, Citroen’s (and Peugeot’s) Grip Control technology specified as a £400 option can be selected via a Land Rover type of controller to take mud, sand and snow in its stride by honing the front-wheel drive traction. The system is also set up to provide automated braking when in hill-descent mode.


An 800 mile test across some of the Lake District’s most challenging routes, plus


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Being a Citroën there’s no surprise in discovering the car’s comfortable seats which afford relaxed long-distance travel. Expect, too, funky yet sensible interior styling which includes a daring and engaging dashboard design that benefits from head-up display, which is a rarely found feature in this price of car. I am an admirer of head-up display as it beams in line of the driver’s vision the car’s speed and navigational information.


Mated to a light and smooth-operating five- speed manual gearbox, the engine pulls effortlessly while the drivetrain willingly copes with the difficult terrain which comprises an abundance of steep gradients and hairpin bends. There’s a confident feel to the precise steering and braking and never at any time during the most tortuously winding ascents and descents is there any compromise in handling and roadholding. That said, the optional and affordable Grip Control together with all-season tyres makes sense, particularly for rural living.


The ride quality is especially good and better than its direct rivals which include the Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008. Even with


21 DECEMBER 2017 ISSUE 421 PAGE 38


Between Buttermere and Honister PHOTO © M.BOBBITT


the need to beef-up its sibling’s C3 Hatch suspension to satisfy the Aircross’s additional bulk and height, it’s sufficiently compliant to painlessly absorb the worst surfaces.


The Aircross is generously equipped as standard. A large boot takes care of the weekly shop plus sports gear and a pushchair, and for increased luggage space the rear seats split and fold. Build quality is fine, as is the fuel consumption which on test averaged 51.8mpg.


With its footprint only marginally bigger than that of a Fiesta, the C3 Aircross offers big-car comfort. It’s fun, too, even minus Grip Control.


C3 Aircross supplied by Citroën UK. Price for top range Flair model £19,020 OTR, as tested with options, £21,950. Official economy 70.6mpg, 51.8mpg on test.


Malcolm Bobbitt www.wheelspinautomedia.co.uk


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